I'm compressing the rest of the trip into one entry. I'll try not to task your patience.

As you can see, we went to the seaside, to Southwold, right across the Blythe river. Those cottages are hideously expensive. They have utilities. They're small. I'll bet the waiting list is a mile long.

The town square, where the town crier came out in full costume on Coronation Day and read the proclamation about King Charles' ascention:

Had to stop at the America Store to see all the America stuff:

All delicious! In their own way, of course. But also when you see this much sugar in one place you realize how much junk we have.

It's a delightful little town, albeit touristy, but that gives it lots of people wandering around and enjoying themselves. It was warm, so we stopped for something to drink at a seaside vendor. The people at the next table had an interesting dog, which Astrid identified as a Lurcher. I'd never heard of the breed. Greyhound + Terrier. Interesting.

Oh - forgot. We took a stroll to another neighborhood in Walbers to check a neighbor's oil-tank level. The old houses are going down, replaced by newer models which may or may not conform well to the old ideas. And by "may" I mean "may not." Think the author's house in Clockwork Orange.

I don't know why people wouldn't want the old style. This one was apparently brought in from elsewhere, and I'm agog that they were able to move it without the entire thing crumbling into rubble.

Does that look like heaven to you? It looks like heaven to me.

Last night dinner at the Bell. A very bad hamburger. I don’t know what I was thinking; I was just tired of fish and curry, I suppose, and had a rather good memory of a previous burger at the Bell. That memory was not, as it turns out, accurate. Imagine something half-raw that was ironed flat and dry, mated with another version of itself, placed between two enormous tall buns that end up the dominant component of the composition. NEVER ORDER BURGERS IN ENGLAND, I don’t know why I never learn this.


Up the next morning and out the gate for the last time this trip.

We said our goodbyes Sunday morning. Easy drive down to Heathrow, chatty driver with bad jokes and celebrity anecdotes (they’re really a lot like us, you know?) and Plain Philosophy. A Top-Gear sort of fellow, used to manage a petrol station, had met Palin when he stopped by for a tankful, from which he extrapolated a friendship that rivaled the bond of men at war in the trenches.







Dropped me off with plenty of time! I had a morning cheroot, knowing there’d be no more for a day, and wandered in, whistling. I’d soon be through the lines, and have some time to dine before the flight . . .






Everyone in the world is trying to get out on Delta.

I couldn’t go to the end of the queue that snaked through the eight rows of queue - which, by the way, went the length of 30 check-in desks. I had to go to the Maze.

The pink-shirt Virgin employee said it like I’d know what that is. The Maze.

It turns out it was a small queue on the right side of the check-in hall, towards the back. After you’d gone through that queue you went to another queue on the left side of the check-in hall, and eventually someone would walk you over to the end of the massive queue.

I had an hour and 40 minutes, but this didn’t look good.

At some point a Delta / Virgin agent was walking around saying NEW YORK passengers should go over there, if they were the 1:45, and while I was not the 1:45, I was close, and figured I’d deal with that once I got there. Going over there, as it turned out, entailed skipping the entire queue. I was stamped through with a slight protest (the agent said “actually you’re supposed to be in that line," pointing to the next desk, which had seven people in line, and I said “I’m here now. This is where the lady told me to go. Let’s just do this” and that was that.)

Next phase: boring Heathrow shopping. There’s not enough seats and everything’s predictable or too expensive. The trinkets & souvenir stand is reliably gauche, the high-end boutiques have no interest, Boots and WHSmith not only duplicate each other but are adjacent. I got a good cup of Caffe Nero and a packet of cheese and sausage and settled down to burn some time. So far so good. Plane not delayed.

That matters, because I have to change in New York, and that means customs. But I have two hours between planes.

Ah: here we go.



I think it goes without saying that the plane left 45 minutes late because of some mechanical cock-up. This was unrelated to the mechanical cock-up with the gate’s powering mechanism that kept the plane air conditioned while we boarded. It was close and sweltering in the plane and everyone was sweating and unhappy.

We waited to leave, so the engines would be turned on and the lovely AC would flow, but we did not leave. So now I’m looking at being at the end of a 400 person queue to get through customs and make it to my plane. I am doubtful and don’t know how I’m going to make my connection home, unless I do some serious elbow-throwing and special-case pleading. I’ve asked the stew to tell me what she knows.


Really: they served high tea. It think it’s about 11 at night for me. I don’t know anymore, as we are heading west and racing the sun. Anyway, the lead stew said we would arrive just ten minutes late: surprise! They’d built in some time, as usual, and had been pouring it on. What’s more, in New York we’re be landing straight away instead of circling, because we had so many people who had to make other flights. How much time did I have? Oh, no problem. I’d make it fine. See, all I had to do was to through customs, get my bag, recheck my bag,

What? Get my bag? And check it? Like, I’m starting all over again?

No, they have the bag check right there, and you’re, you know, behind it all.

I got that: behind security, inside of the official area where you’re presumed not to be carrying explosives. Okay. Well, we’ll see.




JFK should be razed and salted

Well. Let’s just say this was not easy or peasy. At one point I was I the security line when some blue-jackets came along and took us out of the line, insisting we follow that person, because it would be faster. And so we were led to the other side of the ticketing hall, down a stairs, around a corner, to a super-secret ground-floor security station. Once I was through that I relaxed, because the flight out of JFK was now ten minutes delayed. I think it goes without saying that it finally took off two hours late, and no explanation was offered. Just one of those things. Something broke. Something was late. Why should they care? What are you going to do?

And this is Delta.

Since it was JFK, pulling away from the gate is just the start of your great ground bound adventure. You’re going to drive around the runways for 20 minutes, looking for an open one. Finally got up and out and that’s where I am now, approaching the 24-hour traveling day mark, and glad I’m on the last leg.




It was a fine journey, and I hope you enjoyed tagging along.







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